… if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!1 Corinthians 10: 12
Never say, ‘That can’t happen to me.’ Temptation is everywhere. It can become as familiar as the incoming sea, wearing away the cliff so gradually that, until a section collapses into the water, no-one notices the danger. Temptation can also strike suddenly, bringing an irresistible compulsion to do what is wrong. It is like an examination. We should not fear it, but face it. Only when victory is won will we realise the strength of the test. In sending temptation, Satan wants to separate us from God but, as God’s faithfulness helps us through the trial, we shall instead become much closer to him. Should we fall, another of Satan’s tactics is to imprison us in guilt, instead of our asking for the Lord’s forgiveness. We cannot know the pressures experienced by someone else. The Bible is full of stories of good men, considered to be strong in faith, who have still given way to temptation when taken by surprise. Such were Noah, Samson, David, Solomon and Peter. But God’s patience and love are greater than man’s weakness. As the German martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it, ‘If a man sincerely repents, God puts him back to his ministry.’ Peter, confident that he would not deny Jesus, still denied him three times. We ourselves often experience the tiredness, stress, fear or disappointment that led to his downfall, so need to be particularly on guard at those times. Yet, should we fall, there is help on offer to help us up again. Jesus will then ask us, as he asked Peter, ‘Do you love me?’ If the answer is a repentant ‘Yes’, he forgives the failure and invites us once more to follow him.
Written by Marianne Charlier from Belgium« Previous Day Today Next Day »